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App aims to reduce heat-related work hazards

Every year, thousands of U.S. workers are treated for heat exhaustion and other heat-related conditions. To address this, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have collaborated to create an app that workers and employers in Kentucky and around the country can use to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion.

During the summer months when the risk for heat exhaustion is highest, workers rely on their employers when it comes to taking rest and water breaks throughout the day. Even so, heat-related exposure is still a major risk and can be deadly. In 2014 alone, approximately 2,630 employees suffered a heat-related illness. Eighteen died as a result of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses that were caused by working in hot conditions.

The Heat Safety Tool is a mobile app that employers and workers can use to pull up risk information based on humidity and temperature data from satellites controlled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Companies and their workders can check the current risk levels and view hourly forecasts, allowing them to plan ahead as needed. Further, the app also provides recommendations for protection based on the calculated risk. This app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

If an employee suffers a workplace injury or illness while on the clock, such as heat-related exhaustion, employers are responsible for covering the employee's medical costs through their workers' compensation insurance. However, seeking benefits can be difficult for some employees, especially if they cannot work for a time due to their injury and need compensation for bills and other expenses. An attorney could guide an injured employee through the process of filing the required claim.

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